First, Christie has threatened to prosecute businesses that would raise gas prices in his state, under price-gouging laws. That applies to gas-station owners who would be tempted to increase the prices at the pump in response to the recent gasoline shortages. In that, he is not alone since New York governor Andrew Cuomo has done the same. Anti-price gouging policies are always popular with politicians of all stripes, but they have terrible consequences for consumers. As George Mason University’s Don Boudreaux explains:
“Prices kept artificially low – prices forcibly prevented from reflecting the reality that gasoline and other staple goods are in unusually short supply – discourage the extra efforts required by suppliers in times of natural disasters to bring much-needed inventories to market. …”
Since then, Bloomberg News reported that Governor Cuomo is now trying to boost gasoline supply. However, Governor Christie has moved from one bad idea to another one: odd-even rationing of gasoline sales. That policy will also have the exact opposite effect of what the governor’s trying to do; it’s the Carter years all over again.